Wednesday, 30 November 2011

What I learnt.

I learnt a lot during this project. I learnt that my cats are useless....but I still love them.

And what I learnt during the work...It's hard. Very hard. I thought it was going to be difficult in 3D but I was not prepared for the work Id have to do for a 2D one. I had hoped to do a Leap animation as well but I seriously underestimated the amount of time it would take to do a walk. I am not a 2D animator, I really don't have the patience for it. I enjoy it but its very very time consuming. I'll really need to develop my skills if I want to do more 2D work.

I have learnt a lot about the animating process of a cat and I hope that I can reflect this in my final film animation. If I had more time with this project I would do some walk cycles of the differences between cats and kittens as I think that would be an interesting experiment.

I would also like to attempt these in 3D but I will have to wait until I get a cat rig for that. This has helped me a lot with timing and pacing and how many frames it takes to create a walk cycle.

I really should have managed my time better, I really did under estimate the time it would take me to animate the walk and I really had hoped to get a leap done.

This project though has been a fantastic excuse to watch plenty of cat videos on line, I do believe I have seen every cat video in existence now.

Couldn't not post some NYAN CAT!!!

Final Animation

So I "attempted" to clean up the animation and give the cat a face and a tail....

The legs look much cleaner but the head looks stiffer than before, which is OK, but it would be better if it rocked more and I don't even want to mention the tail. 24 frames later and a serious cramp in my wrist I really don't know what went wrong there. Guess its punishment for using Photoshop and After Effects.

But I tried to focus more on the walk that the tail. Which is evident. I'm happy with the outcome although I prefer the rougher animation to this one. I just like the way the lines wobble, just feels like its got more character.

New and Improved Walk Cycle

So here is the roughed out newer walk. I am much happier with this one. Its flows a lot better than the first. I had a few issues with the back legs with show slightly in the animation. I didn't know drawing back legs of cats would be so difficult.

I ignored the tail for now and didn't do much to the back or head as I was focusing more on the walk. The back legs were very difficult for me. as I had to keep them moving without losing their shape.

I am going to go back over the animation and clean it up, give the cat a face and a tail. Or at least attempt too.

Key Poses

So I went back to my animation. and thought about the key poses in this walk cycle. after my first walk I knew I needed to add more frames for a smoother animation.

Its a lot of work animating 4 legs. I don't want them moving in unison as that is not how a cat walks. Once one foot has been put down another foot get lifted up. All feet are moving all the time and I need to make sure they all move for the animation to flow. I have now begun adding more frames. I need to put at least 1 or 2 frames between my first lot I have done for a smoother outcome.

Walk Cycle

So on to animating. Had a little hiccup in the program department. Toon Boom decided that it didn't want to work and my images had an even worse quality before. I don't know if its because I'm running Vista or that it just doesn't like me but it did not want to work. So I gave up with that program.

So I tried Flash...and.. that didn't work too well. I'm not entirely familiar with Flash so I was slow working on it anyway then it kept freezing up and crashing....guess that's what you get for having a cracked copy.

So my final option (aside from freaking out and running away to a foreign country) was to use Photoshop and After Effects. Probably not the best option but it got the job done.

This was my first initial walk. I didn't use many frames and did each frame twice, I treated this walk too much like a human walk cycle, which can be completed in like 12 frames. This was 14 frames, shot twice, so 28 frames in total looped a little so that YouTube would play it.

As you can see its far too choppy. There aren't nearly enough frames in this animation. I need to go back and re work it. I treated my first test too much like a bipedal walk cycle.

I also found that its a good idea to colour the legs in the background in...because if you don' looks like he's moon walking.

Back to the drawing board.

Friday, 25 November 2011

Sketches and Images

These are the images I did for my final film. his is the character reference sheet for the Cat. I thought I should include this here as well as its relevant to this project too. I did simple poses here just to show her markings.

And here are some rough sketches I did for reference. I tried to find different angles and different poses seeing as I have useless cats I references these images from cat videos I viewed on line.

Because of my useless boring cats I watched someone else's interesting cats. I do love how I have an excuse to watch cat videos and actually have a reason to watch them rather than just to waste time.

I used this video to get references for the sketches.

Monday, 21 November 2011

Simon's Cat

I couldn't look at cat things without bringing up this guy. Simons Cat. Its a series or short animations and illustrations about a very hungry cat. This guys work is so simply drawn and has such a a charm to it.

I love the style he has for his animations and even though its a very simplified style he still manages to retain the cat like movements of the cat.

His animations are good because they are based on actual things and quirks that cats do and have. He owns three cats himself and is completely obsessed with them so it that obviously helps. Simon Tofield has a fantastic way of capturing the cats fantastic characteristics as well as adding comedy and really pushing his animation.

As much as I'd like to animate similar to him. I think its best if I stick to a more realistic walk as it will benefit me in my final film.

I just had to add this in as I love the difference between the walks of the Cat and the Kitten and the fantastic iterations between the characters. If I had time I would like to explore the walk cycles of a Kitten as well. Kittens are a lot less confident on their feet and walk differently to when they get older. I love how this is captured in this animation.